It's a new era in Southfield as the city officially introduces its new Chief of Police. 44-year-old Eric Hawkins has been running the department for more than a year in an interim capacity and last week was formally sworn in as the city's top law enforcement officer.
Hawkins is a familiar face who has been rising through the ranks of the department for the past 23 years. The Pontiac Northern High school graduate took over when Joseph Thomas retired in May of 2011.
Hawkins says controlling crime is his top priority. "We have a reputation in Southfield of being tough on crime. And I want to maintain that. We need to make sure that our citizens are safe and secure. In order to do that we need to leverage all of the talent that we have in the community."
Another priority for Hawkins is making sure his officers' presence is felt in the community. "Our residents are telling me they'd like to see more officers in the neighborhoods."
Chief Hawkins is also proud of his implementation of a private security lockup operation which he says is saving the city $400 Thousand a year.
Hawkins earned his Bachelor and Masters in Administration at Central Michigan University. He says his fondest memories of his time on the force so far are from when he was a school liaison officer in Southfield.